Dr Carl von Schubert
Situated on the left bank of the Ruwer river, around two kilometres from where it meets the Mosel, the von Schubert estate is steeped in history, with archaeological artefacts suggesting that wine has been made here since the Roman times. However, it is more notably influenced by the order of Benedictine monks from the monastery of Saint Maximin in Trier, who owned it from the 10th to 18th century. Like its current owner - Dr Carl von Schubert, whose family bought it in the 19th century and has lived here ever since - the monks cultivated the vines in three distinct but contiguous vineyards, Abstberg, Herrenberg and Bruderberg.
The best of these is thought to be Abstberg, so called because its wines were served exclusively to the Abbot (or 'Abt'), whereas Herrenberg was reserved for the monks and Bruderberg for the lay brothers. Although Bruderberg has historically been the least favoured of the vineyards, climate change has played its part, and some feel it will soon be the best of the three.
Abstberg's 14 hectares are on south-east to south-west-facing slopes of blue Devonian slate, and its wines tend to have racy acidity, subtle minerality, great delicacy and impressive ageing potential. The 19-hectare Herrenberg vineyard benefits from deeper soils of reddish slate, with better water storage capacity, although it is less warm than Abstberg and produces more full-bodied, supple and fruity wines.
94% of the estate's production is given to riesling, with tiny amounts of pinot blanc, auxerrois and pinot noir. The vines are farmed without pesticides of herbicides and are all harvested by hand.
Fermentation occurs in a mixture of small stainless-steel or large oak tanks - they believe this mixture helps to develop the typical mineral flavours from the slate soils and promotes longevity in the wine. All of the barrels use wood from the estate's own forest and are crafted by a local cooper.
The von Schubert labels contain references to the family's historical achievements, such as a steam horse with a sword between its front hooves, which refers to its founding of the first railway engineer regiment, and a cog and miner's lamp as a reference to family achievements in the mining and steelwork industry.